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Things To Do

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  • Off-Leash Dog Areas

    We offer five uniquely different outdoor areas where dogs can exercise, play, swim and socialize off-leash. An annual or daily permit and a dog are required for entry. Descriptions and fees »

    Annual permit: Allows access to all five Off-Leash Dog Areas. Annual permits are valid for the calendar year only, and are not prorated. Reduced rates are offered annually, beginning September 1, and permit is valid through the end of the current year. A vehicle sticker is issued with each permit. To purchase a $5 replacement sticker, call or visit our General Offices in Libertyville, 847-367-6640, 8 am–4:30 pm, weekdays, or our Operations and Public Safety Facility in Lake Villa, 847-968-3404, 6:30 am–3 pm, weekdays.

    Daily permit: Allows one day's access to all five Off-Leash Dog Areas. Purchase via mobile phone. Self-pay stations for daily permits are not available.

    Gift Certificates

    Give that special dog in your life the perfect treat. To purchase, call or visit our General Offices in Libertyville, 847-367-6640, 8 am–4:30 pm, weekdays.

  • Equestrian

    Horse Trail Use

    Over 82 miles of trails are open to horseback riding. An annual or daily permit is required to ride horses on forest preserve trails. Reduced rates are offered annually, beginning September 1, and permit is valid through the end of the current year. A horse tag is issued with each permit. Replacement tags may also be purchased. Trail locations and fees » 

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    Horse Carts and Sleighs

    Privately-owned wheeled carts and gigs pulled by a single horse or pony are permitted on any trail designated for horseback riding. Sleighs pulled by a single horse or pony are permitted to use the mowed grass trails at Waukegan Savanna Forest Preserve. An annual permit is required for these uses. Description and fees »

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    Model Aircraft Flying Field

    Our field at Van Patten Woods in Wadsworth offers flying space up to 373 feet wide by 560 feet long. An annual permit and a current Academy of Model Aeronautics license are required for entry. Description and fees »

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    Picnic Shelters

    Our picnic shelters and open picnic areas are popular locations for baptisms, family reunions, wedding receptions, company picnics and other special events. Descriptions and fees »

    Shelter permit: Required for exclusive use of a picnic shelter, regardless of group size.

    Open area picnic permit: Open areas for picnics are available at most preserves on a first-come, first-served basis. Open areas are not reservable, however, a permit is required for groups of 25 or more. Permits/fees are not required for groups under 25. Picnics with an anticipated attendance of more than 500 people or certain specified activities will require a special use permitOpen area permits for Independence Grove can be purchased at the Visitors Center.

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    Special Use Permits

    Special Use Permits are required for any event held within the forest preserves that extend beyond regular public use or may need special consideration. It is our intent to designate specific areas of the preserves, when possible, to groups or organizations whose size or type of event requires additional services. Examples include, large-scale runs or walks, events that collect fees or raise funds, commercial videography or photography.

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    Vendor and Professional Photographer Permits

    Vendors on site for permit holders to provide special activities allowed at a picnic shelter must be licensed with us for the current year. Annual or single use permits can be purchased.

    Picnic services include catering, beer truck, band, DJ or other entertainment, commercial portrait photography, face painting, inflatable rentals, tents, portable toilets or wash stations, and other services associated with picnics and events in our preserves.

    Professional photographers wishing to use the forest preserves as a setting to photograph families or weddings must be licensed with us for the current year.

    Commercial portrait photography permits do not apply to exclusive use areas at Independence Grove (Millennium Plaza, Native Garden, North Bay Pavilion) when under contract for private use. Permits for these areas can be obtained at the Visitors Center.

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    Youth Group Camping Permits

    These beautiful areas provide a rustic camping experience for scouts and other organized youth groups with adult supervision. Each campground is equipped with multiple fire rings, and toilets.